Gukurahundi outreach to begin by July

26 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Gukurahundi outreach  to begin by July Mrs Mabiza

The Sunday Mail

Tanyaradzwa Rusike

PUBLIC HEARINGS to document and address violent disturbances that took place in some parts of the country during the 1980s are set to commence in July, marking the beginning of a historically significant national healing and reconciliation process.

The hearings will be facilitated by a handbook and manual that has since been translated into local languages by linguistics experts from the Midlands State University.

This is meant to ensure broad participation and understanding of the process during the Matabeleland Peace-Building Outreach Programme.

The Government has allocated a budget for the exercise, which seeks to bring closure to the violent clashes that erupted after independence, mainly in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Attorney-General Mrs Virginia Mabiza said: “We anticipate that the programme will be launched before or at the start of the third quarter of 2024.

“In addition, the provisional planned time frame demonstrates our political will and prioritisation of reconciliation efforts within our country.

“We hope that these efforts signal to stakeholders and the international community that the Government takes these matters seriously.”

Mrs Mabiza heads the secretariat for the Matabeleland Peace-Building Outreach Programme.

“The commencement of these consultations has been strategically planned to maximise effectiveness and inclusivity, as well as create a constructive environment for dialogue, healing and reconciliation.

“The Government is committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone’s opinions are valued, contributing to a meaningful and impactful process.”

Preparations for the outreach programme are reportedly at an advanced stage.

“I am pleased to announce that we have made significant progress in laying the groundwork for Gukurahundi consultative meetings.

“This includes logistical arrangements, venue selection and coordination of resources,” she added.

Mrs Mabiza said part of the preparations involved translation of materials to be used during the programme into local languages.

“In addition, the Midlands State University has been entrusted with translating the community outreach handbook and manual into local languages, ensuring effective communication and participation in the consultations.

“Also, I am delighted to report that the university has completed the translation of the manual.”

Administrative forms have been developed to facilitate collection of personal information of all participants during the meetings.

“These forms will enable the chiefs’ panels to systematically archive testimonies using the information and communication technology gadgets procured for this initiative,” she said.

“The procurement of logistical equipment and consumables is ongoing and will continue beyond the launch to support the hearings effectively. The Government is committed to ensuring all necessary resources are in place to facilitate meaningful and productive consultations.”

President Mnangagwa’s administration has committed to confront the country’s ugly past by resolving outstanding issues associated with the disturbances.

The outreach, Mrs Mabiza said, was a significant step forward in demonstrating the Government’s commitment to addressing and healing wounds of the past.

“We assure the nation that a dedicated budget has been established, highlighting the Government’s commitment to addressing historical grievances related to the Gukurahundi issue comprehensively and transparently.

“This allocation ensures that all necessary resources will be available to support the successful implementation of the programme, reinforcing our dedication to a thorough and meaningful resolution process.”

The hearings, she added, were poised to address a range of critical issues, underscoring the Government’s commitment to truth, healing and reconciliation.

“These hearings will provide a platform for victims and their families to share their experiences openly and honestly, helping to uncover the truth behind the events of Gukurahundi.”

She also said the hearings will be led by 72 chiefs from Matabeleland North and South provinces.

“The National Council of Chiefs has resolved that no chief shall interfere with the proceedings of another chief within their respective domains.

“This approach is designed to facilitate a sense of ownership of the process by the affected communities, as they are in the best position to identify potential victims and verify accounts based on their shared experiences,” she said.

“We believe this strategy will enhance the authenticity and effectiveness of the consultative process, ensuring that the voices of the communities are accurately represented and heard.

“Central to the hearings is the documentation and identification of victims to ensure that the Government takes appropriate remedial action.”

It is believed the hearings present an opportunity for victims and stakeholders to propose recommendations for remedies.

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